Reader Submission: Reaction to Sandy Hook shootings

It is difficult to sell the notion of God when times are bright and hopeful. People are extremely doubtful and question the validity of something which cannot be seen, felt or acknowledged. On the other hand, a good salesperson can pitch a deal for a car supported on the very fact that you can take a car for a ride, smell the new car smell, listen to all the bells and whistles and there are even times when the car literally sells itself.

God, on the other hand, is a mystery. So, a tragedy like Sandy Hook occurs and the message is, “Come to God and He will heal your aches and pains, especially the ones that strangle your heart strings and diminish any place for hope.” “Why?” Is the response that is bantered back and forth from every possible angle. Why would anyone believe in a God that allows such a traumatic event to occur? Why didn’t God enlighten someone to prevent this from happening?

Like a thief in the night this perpetrator not only stole innocent lives but he also sabotaged a beautiful season and crushed underfoot the simple meaning of peace to all. His selfish motives and inhuman acts took away the breath and future of innocent children. He turned the symbolic Christmas tree into the key to our salvation, the Cross.  The cost was twenty-six lives and the results will be felt forever as their absence will be felt with each heartbeat of those who are left behind to put lives back together.

When an adult loses his or her life, it is a terrible occurrence touching family and friends of the victim; when a child is gunned down, their blood splatters on everyone. Everyone, even strangers, feel the hurt because we share in the humanity of the innocent. When a child’s eyes fill with tears our hearts are touched on so many levels. A child dictates our actions because children are pure of heart and are not stained with the prejudices that many adults carry around with them on a daily basis. Ask a child what he or she thinks and the answer will be brutally honest and true. Children demand that we, in turn, act with honesty in return.

When I heard of the shootings I was one at the same time angered and heartbroken. What a mix of bizarre emotions. It made me stop and think of my daughters. It made me push out to a place that we all never want to visit but we all ask, “What if it were one of my kids?” That is where the anger stems from but quickly transitions to what about the kids who did die? What about their parents, siblings, relatives, friends? How do you pick up and go on?

There are no answers that will satisfy our thirst for what we ask. There is no one on the face of this earth that can console us completely to the point of acceptance. So, we are back to square one, looking face to face with a God who created us, showed us unconditional love and now asks  us to accept this heinous crime.

God, for many of us, is an easy target. We can scream at Him, blame Him, question Him and walk away from Him. But without Him we are alone. Without Him we reach out to grab for anything that will help us but we come up empty handed. God is our only consequence which will allow us to experience some peace but this will not come easy or quickly. There was a reason why this happened and we might never find out the true reasoning why events like this take place but God says we must put our trust in Him.

If we never relied on faith, now is the time. Faith enables us to believe in that unseen God who appreciated our suffering and enables us to extend our hands, hearts and minds to family, friends and yes, even strangers realizing that we are all one family shaken to its very core. We will never hear the voices of the children, we will never again see their smiles, we will never experience them growing into adulthood. However, if we do not believe that they are at a better place and at peace, we are, in some way letting them down and possibly forgetting they ever existed.

A morning glory is a flower that only blooms for a brief portion of the day and then it is gone. If we don’t remember what it looks like then we will never remember its beauty. God called twenty little angels and six adults back home. Their suffering is over. Their fear is gone. God is holding each and everyone in His arms.  They are now watching over us and protecting us making sure that we remember and never forget their lives, their love and their gift to us knowing they are at peace.

Submitted by Stephen T. Ferry, 19115

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